A blog dedicated to things that sucked (and didn't suck) about the 1980's

  • Welcome to thefabulous80's - A blog dedicated to the things that sucked and didn't suck about the 1980's.

    I'm Peter, the primary editor of this blog. The point of this blog is to post light-hearted articles about the high and low points of the 1980's from multiple authors.

    Hopefully this blog doesn't suck.

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Archive for March, 2011

Didn’t Suck: The Red Spot on Gorbachev’s Head

Posted by PJC on March 8, 2011

By: PJC.

This article is being written in red font because, well, it involves the last communist leader of the Soviet Union. I’m talking of course about Mikhail Gorbachev. Let me run through, for a moment, a very abridged list of this man’s multitude of accomplishments:

  • Awarded Nobel Peace Price in 1990
  • General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
  • Perestroika
  • Glasnost
  • Repeal of the Brezhnev Doctrine
  • Playing a crucial role in reducing nuclear weapons and ending the cold war
  • Democratization of the USSR.

Clearly a very impressive man. Despite each of those accomplishments being worthy of their own article, this article focuses on something much more memorable about him. The thing I (and, I submit, everyone else) will remember about Secretary Gorbachev first and foremost? That huge red spot on top of his balding head. In case you missed it, this is it:


Gorbachev and his red spot.

Think I’m being ridiculous? Ask anyone you know who was alive during this period of time to name 1 physical characteristic about Gorbachev. I guarantee 99.9% of the people you ask will say the red spot. I’m not exaggerating. Remember how he was portrayed in the Simpsons?


Gorbachev in the Simpsons

It’s no joke. The thing was massive. It was this guy’s calling card. If this guy had a card on the Hasbro board game “Taboo,” it would look something like this:

Russian Leader
Soviet Union

[In case you’re not familiar with Taboo, the premise of this game is to get your teammate(s) to say the subject word (on the top of the card) by describing it using anything but that word or the five words (and any derivative thereof) listed on the card. My crude sketch above is an example of a card.

As an aside, when we used to play this game as a family growing up, I was the annoying little sh*t who absolutely loved  the damn buzzer. The buzzer was a AA battery-powered device with an exceedingly lame early 90’s color scheme that, when used, sounded both more pathetic and more annoying than the horn on a Honda Civic. The point of it was to hit the buzzer when someone used a word they shouldn’t have in describing the subject word, giving the other team a point. Here’s what it looked like:

Sample of a Taboo buzzer. I can't (and won't) take credit for these amazing graphics that help illustrate its annoying qualities.


 Needless to say, whenever we played this game as a family, my older brothers saw to it that not a single AA battery could be found in the entire house. But, being the annoying sh*t I was, I sometimes managed to sneak one in during the game and use it. Growing up with older brothers, I’ve been flogged by everything from a Tennis Ball to an original NES Nintendo cartridge. However, nothing guaranteed physical violence more than using this damn buzzer when they were within a square mile of me…and understandably so.]

But, I digress…back to Gorbachev.

According to Wikipedia, knower of all things, the red spot is a type of birthmark called a “naevus flammeus,” also known commonly as a “port-wine stain.” Basically, it’s a bunch of superficial and deep dilated capillaries in the skin. And, on the Wikipedia article for the Naevus Flammeus – guess who is in the main picture demonstrating an example of one? That’s right. Gorbachev. See for yourself:

So, I guess that’s all I have to say on that topic. None of the preceding was meant to be in any way disrespectful to Secretary Gorbachev. For better or for worse, the man brought about significant changes for Russia during his tenure in control.

Gorbachev's resignation speech.


Posted in 80's Politics, Didn't Suck | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sucked: The Sony Watchman

Posted by PJC on March 6, 2011

By: PJC.

In 1982, the year this author was born, Sony unveiled its “Watchman” in North America. So here’s a really cool idea – a portable television set! You can watch your favorite TV shows anywhere, right? In your car…late night at the office…in the bleachers if you need to tune out your daughter’s field hockey game…

1982 Sony Watchman with accessories

But in hindsight, this thing sucked. It had a 1.5 inch CRT black and white screen that displayed a really unclear picture with lots of fuzz. The following is not an exaggeration: you could stand on top of a TV antenna tower on a clear day and still not get a clear picture on this thing. Plus, the thing had a ridiculously long antenna that I swear to God was at least 4-feet in length once fully extended. (Don’t let the picture above fool you, that antenna is maybe extended only a quarter of its overall length.)

Close up of a mid-80's Watchman. Shocker, its getting crappy reception.

Your math is correct – I was only in second grade when the 1980’s concluded. However my two big brothers had the privilege of experiencing this decade in their teen and high school years. [Perhaps you’re wondering why there’s an approximate 10-year age gap between my brothers and I? Well, for most of my life I suspected I was one of those “oops” babies. Turns out that’s not the case. One night at Christmas dinner a few years ago, when I was a few beers in and my father had a couple Manhattans in him, I finally asked what the deal is with the age gap. He explained to me quite bluntly that I absolutely was not an accident, I was simply ten years of negotiations with my mother and he lost. Dear Mom: Thanks for fighting the good fight.]

Ok, back to the Watchman:

I recall my older brothers got one of these for Christmas one year. I’m sure this was the mid-1980’s equivalent of the iPhone from a “bitchin’ technology” standpoint and thus everyone had to have one. But, I think once they realized how much it sucked, it got passed down to me (along with their old Iron Maiden shirts and a random LA Raiders tee-shirt which my oldest brother later re-claimed for himself…). So, for whatever reason, I thought this device was the coolest thing since sliced bread. For a period of time I dragged this thing everywhere with me, including sitting in the back of our family cruiser, (this was the days before SUV’s) our triple-silver 1988 Lincoln Town Car, trying to watch this thing on long car rides.

1988 Lincoln Town Car very similar to our family cruiser back in the day. File this car under "Didn't Suck."

I wish I could get back the combined time I wasted moving the tuning wheel ever-so-slightly to get the…on a good day….two stations that kind of came in visibly. The other 5 stations this device “received” amounted to nothing more than a tease because you could hear the audio but couldn’t see the damn picture!!!

But it had a built-in AM/FM radio that actually worked, so I suppose that was a redeeming quality. Also, I wonder if these things even work anymore since the mandatory HD upgrades that happened to Television a couple years ago which rendered old-school rabbit ears useless. Probably not. And I sincerely doubt they bothered with developing a converter for these pieces of junk.

Posted in "Bitchin' Technology" from the 1980's, Sucked | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Didn’t Suck: Gordon Gekko

Posted by PJC on March 5, 2011

By: PJC.

As the first official posting of this blog, why not start out with a classic 1980’s fictional icon? Who else, but Gordon Gekko. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, greed is good.

If this were a blog about things that sucked from the 2010’s, I’d do an article on how much the sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps actually sucked. It’s not so much that the sequel was bad so much as Shia LeBeouf is HORRIBLE. He’s already got two strikes against him: he played a huge role in ruining the Indiana Jones legacy with that theatrical embarrasment that was Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the Wall Street legacy. But, I digress.

Rather, I’m discussing the first installment by Oliver Stone, “Wall Street,” starring Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko and Charlie Sheen (in his less coked-out days with less porn stars per-capita) as Bud Fox. This movie is, without question, in the top five of the best 1980’s movies.

In this movie, Charlie Sheen’s character, Bud Fox, plays a hungry stockbroker trying to “bag the elephant” by landing Michael Douglas’ character, Gordon Gekko, as a client. A fantastic performance for Charlie Sheen who also has some great scenes with Martin Sheen, who also plays his father in the movie.

Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox

But this article isn’t about Charlie Sheen and his “Bi-Winning” personality that we have all come to aspire to these last few days. It’s about Gordon Gekko.

Gordon Gekko is a day-trader on Wall Street who makes $15,000,000 on a bad day, smokes great cigars, rides around in classic 80’s Cadillac Limos:

1983 Cadillac Fleetwood Limo


And turned 80’s stockbroker fashion into an absolute icon (that is still, arguably, fashionable today):

But perhaps the coolest thing he had was his 1980’s Motorola “cellular” phone, which will also be the topic of a future article on this blog:

Gordon Gekko's Sweet Motorola Dynatac 8000

So, if you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend you add it to your Netflix. And move it to the top of your queue.

Posted in 80's Movies / Movie Characters, Didn't Suck | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »